It’s the time of year that has me excited. It’s the Polaris Prize, the Canadian equivalent of The Mercury Prize. It is a cash prize that goes to the band that produces the best CANADIAN album of the year. I have been eagerly awaiting this list announcement, because I firmly believe that one album alone can win this year, but I’m curious to see what will end up competing against it.
The long list of Forty (!) albums, that somehow doesn’t have Sarah Harmer’s Oh Little Fire on the list, follows after the cut, along with some light commentary.
The albums on the Longlist are:
The Arcade Fire The Suburbs
Austra Feel It Break
Black Mountain Wilderness Heart
Braids Native Speakers
Buck 65 20 Odd Years
Louise Burns Mellow Drama
D-Sisive Jonestown 2: Jimmy Go Bye Bye
The Dears Degeneration Street
Diamond Rings Special Affectations
Dirty Beaches Badlands
Luke Doucet and the White Falcon Steel City Trawler
Eternia and MoSS At Last
Galaxie Tigre Et Diesel
Jenn Grant Honeymoon Punch
Tim Hecker Ravedeath, 1972
Hey Rosetta! Seeds
Hooded Fang Album
Imaginary Cities Temporary Resident
Land of Talk Cloak and Cipher
Little Scream The Golden Record
The Luyas Too Beautiful To Work
Malajube La Caverne
Miracle Fortress Was I The Wave?
One Hundred Dollars Songs of Man
Doug Paisley Constant Companion
P.S. I Love You Meet Me at the Muster Station
Daniel Romano Sleep Beneath the Willow
The Rural Alberta Advantage Departing
Ron Sexsmith Long Player Late Bloomer
Shotgun Jimmie Transistor Sister
Sloan The Double Cross
Frederick Squire March 12
Stars The Five Ghosts
Colin Stetson New History of Warfare Vol. 2: Judges
Timber Timbre Creep on Creepin’ On
The Weeknd House of Balloons
Women Public Strain
Neil Young Le Noise
Young Galaxy Shapeshifting (warning, site has autoplay of sound track)
So, of this list, I know three-quarters of the artists on sight, half by sound, and about a half-dozen I own substantial sections of their discography. In the case of Neil Young and Arcade fire, I own all their albums.
I really don’t see a top ten without Young or Arcade Fire, and most likely Sloan and Sexsmith. Malajube will most like land on the list, as will D-Sisive and Buck 65. That leave three spaces for the newer, less established bands. I pick Rural Alberta Advantage for being Albertan and putting out a really kick ass record, Hey Rosetta! and Jenn Grant. I see Stars and the Dears both falling into the New Pornographers trap- the music field is just so diverse and so good, that these established bands get the shaft by simply being not as good as they have been in the past.
And I really don’t see how Arcade Fire doesn’t win it all in the end. It’s one of the best albums of 2010, its won a Grammy, a Brit, and a Juno. Neil Young might make it interesting, but as fantastic as Le Noise is, it can’t possibly beat The Suburbs. I’m of the mindset that is the Beatles were Canadian and released Sargent Pepper’s now, they could beat Arcade Fire. That’s how incredible the record is and how it has consumed Canadian music this past year.
I wish it would be exciting, for the award’s sake. I just don’t think it can lose.